7 Centers Yoga Arts

»Deeply breathing the arid desert air of Arizona«

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Named for the seven chakras, 7 Centers Yoga Arts is a highlight of good taste and authentic living in Sedona, affectionately known as a New Age spiritual Mecca in the heart of the Red Rocks. This is an all-purpose yoga studio with open daily classes, personal retreats and month-long teacher training courses. It is also the only one of our centers to offer Kundalini Teacher Training Courses.

  • What we love
  • The accessibility of open classes to beginners and families
  • Range of Teacher Training options
  • The reports of life-changing transformations experienced by past students
  • What to know
  • No accommodation provided, although a local billeting system is facilitated by 7 Centers
  • Mostly local and some international guests
  • Teacher Training Courses require two months of physical purification prior to beginning
  • Why go
  • A tranquil gem hidden in the bustle of Sedona
  • Kundalini Yoga a specialty
  • Ashram-like experience for longer courses

The bulk of 7 Centers' visitors are local - from the US and Canada that is, rather than from the more far-flung regions of the world. This is probably because the center is one of the few remaining hidden gems of the yoga world and word has not yet spread too far beyond the city limits, despite being featured on more than one Top List. The occasional traveler who stumbles across it will be glad they did.

The shala, or yoga studio, is 1700 square feet of Spanish-style architecture that capture the light and the imagination. Built to be completely sympathetic to the traditional local designs, it also conveniently makes the most of any cool breezes that rise up out of the desert in the heat of the day. High ceilings act as a kind of natural chimney, keeping the floor and its occupants cool. The second space is a traditional yurt with wooden doors painted by Tibetan monks and an interior richly strewn with Afghan carpets. Karma yogis are often found planting or harvesting vegetables in raised beds surrounding the property while the Medicine Garden is home to more than fifty culinary and medicinal herbs.

If a guest happens to arrive while a teacher training class is in session, they can attend Kundalini and/or a Chakra yoga series, 5 Elements Yoga or a Vajrayogini class. Many specialty classes are offered, including family yoga for new parents and their teeny yoginis. General Hatha style is strong on the calendar, along with Vinyasa Flow and the center's specialty Kundalini Yoga.

A brief aside about Kundalini Yoga for those unfamiliar with the style. Often considered to be an advanced yogic form, Kundalini is focused on raising the consciousness to a point where it becomes one with the divine. In practical terms this means becoming hyper-aware of every moment and experience, from the taste of the water in your glass to the collective mood of the people in the room.

7Centers was already unique when it opened the first yoga center in Sedona. Offering quality classes in Kundalini Yoga and then offering Teacher Training in Kundalini were two more steps ahead of the pack. For yoga teachers who have already taken their 200-hour training in Hatha yoga, the 200-hour Kundalini Teacher Training (and 500-hour for the truly dedicated) is a way to bring their yoga experience out of the everyday and into the extraordinary. Past students use words like 'life-changing' and 'transformative' to describe the effects of their studies. The 200-hour course is a 30-day full immersion and what 7Centers describes as an ashram-style schedule. Knowing the things we know about Indian ashrams we can assure you this means early starts, long days and hard work. This work is physical, emotional and spiritual as students strip back the layers of their own psyches and confront their inner beings. No-one said it would be easy.

Accommodation is not offered by 7Centers although they do have a local billeting system with families who are well-used to having the center's students and guests in their homes. The monthly cost of staying with one of these families is in addition to any fee quoted for a workshop, program or retreat. Like the courses on offer through 7Centers, the costs tend to be high. Using the billeting system is not compulsory, and a student may stay anywhere they choose.

The billeting option applies not only to the Teacher Training Programs but also to the intensive two and three-day retreats. The retreats can be spread over any amount of time a guest chooses, and contain any and all of the services on offer, but most people choose to take one of the suggested packages over a long weekend. The most basic suggested option, with the lowest price and the lowest number of inclusions, is the Yoga Bliss package. With a five-class pass totaling around 7.5 hours plus two private yoga lessons, a two-hour yoga hike, and one hour each of meditation and pranayama, this package works out at around US$50 per hour of services, not including accommodation or food. Not the cheapest yoga retreat around but not the most expensive either, and the range of optional add-ons is huge. Reiki, chakra balancing, all manner of things ayurvedic, and plenty of unfamiliar offerings that may send even a dedicated New-Ager to Google.

And this really is the right place for those dedicated New-Agers. There is an air of spiritual exploration here that leads a person gently to believe that no idea is too far-fetched, no concept unworthy of exploration. Maybe it's something about the endless expanse of desert that gives the normally far-fetched a little more air to breathe. Whatever it is, it certainly works for the graduates, who take a sense of peace of courage with them when they leave. As far as souvenirs go, those qualities beat a keyring and a postcard.

About the area: Sedona

Although Sedona is a popular area for artists, it is really its natural environment that makes it popular with visitors. It is situated in the heart of Red Rock Country, the surreal and almost alien landscape that is, as the name suggests, a deep rich red color. A wild collection of monoliths and canyons, the area around Sedona is perfect for hiking, swimming, and rock climbing at all times of year. A tip for newcomers: While hiking is free, parking at the trailhead is not. Buy a day or week pass from the local Chamber of Commerce. This being the desert, temperatures are naturally high during the day at around 40 degrees C or more (100+F) and often below freezing at night so a variety of clothing is necessary.

Image credit: 7 Centers Yoga Arts

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